Health First Dental Clinic Provides Dental Care for Low-Income Residents
In 2011, the Dental Referral Program was established through the combined efforts of Health First and the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County. The program was created to assist individuals who present in Health First’s Emergency Departments (ED) with acute dental pain. After treatment in the ED with antibiotics and/or pain medication, the patients are offered a referral to a dentist affiliated with the Health Department. Patients are seen at the dental clinic with follow-up treatment consisting of X-rays, fillings and/or extractions.
The dental clinic, which is subsidized entirely by Health First, was established for low- income and underinsured adult residents of Brevard County. The need to continue operating the dental clinic was reinforced when Health First conducted its Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in Fall 2012 and “Adults without a Regular Dentist” was a disparity identified in Brevard County. The subsequent implementation strategy to address this issue resulted in continuation of the Dental Referral program.
According to the data tracking outcomes for this disparity, a total of 2,227 patients from Health First’s EDs have been referred to the dental clinic since May 2011.